Yerry De Los Santos: Continued Progression has Righty Knocking on Door for Bullpen Role

Photo Credit: Jesse Kirkendall

 As the MLB Playoffs rages on, the Pittsburgh Pirates continue their preparations for the offseason that will see a lot of roster turnover from the team that lost 101 games during the 2021 season.

The first set of decisions that are needed to be made is who to protect from the Rule 5 draft by adding them to the 40-man roster. 

For a complete explanation of Rule-5 eligibility, here is a link to a Baseball America article but here is a quick breakdown of the process;

"Any pro that signed their initial contract as an 18-year-old or younger, that player becomes eligible for the Rule-5 draft after their fifth professional season."

"19-years or older, after their fourth pro season."

One of the players that the Pirates will have to make a decision on will be right handed pitcher Yerry De Los Santos. The 6'2" 23-year-old pitcher from the Dominican Republic was signed by the Pirates back in 2014 and has been Rule-5 eligible since 2018 but has remained in the organization.

Although he missed time with an injury, De Los Santos may be an interesting addition to the 40-man roster and could find himself in the major league bullpen at some point in 2022.

De Los Santos had a rough start to his career, which included a Tommy John surgery. 2019 was his first full season in the U.S., pitching for the Greensboro Grasshoppers, and struck out 73 batters in 50 innings pitched. He held the opposition to an .183 average and an 0.88 WHIP. 

Due to his injury, De Los Santos only pitched in 23 2/3 innings in 2021, but he made them count. The righty posted a 1.52 ERA, striking out 25 batters in that span. He also held batters to an .160 average and an 0.85 WHIP. That was good enough to be named to the Pirates second team minor league All-Stars on this site.

Pitching most of the season with the Altoona Curve, De Los Santos was part of the mass call ups to triple-A with the Indianapolis Indians to close out the year.

In six innings pitched across four games, De Los Santos didn't allow a run on two hits and a walk to go along with his six strikeouts.

In this clip, he faces some of the better prospects in the minors, M.J. Melendez and Bobby Witt Jr. along with slugging first baseman Ryan McBroom. Melendez recorded a hit, but De Los Santos was able to retire both McBroom and Witt Jr., the former on a strikeout.

De Los Santos features a mid-90s fastball that consistently sits at 95/96 MPH along with a 82-85 MPH sliders, a perfect combinations for a middle reliever.

The Pirates have a lot of questions to answer when it comes who they are going to protect, and who they will leave exposed for another organization to select. There are several factors in selecting a player in the Rule-5, the main one being the team has to keep anyone they take on the major league roster for the entire season.

De Los Santos is going to be an interesting name to watch as the deadline to add players to the 40-man roster gets closer. He hasn't pitched much above double-A and will be 24 by time the season starts, two things that may work against him when it comes to a team selecting him.

Which would be a great news for the Pirates, who could then wait to add him to the 40-man roster when they are ready to call him up to Pittsburgh, should it come to that.

How do you feel about De Los Santos? Do you feel like he should be protected from the Rule-5? Lets us know in the comment section below, subscribe to the site using the link at the top of the page, and follow us on Twitter @__Murphy88 and @SportsBlogMurphy.

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